tv BBC World News America PBS February 22, 2012 4:00pm-4:30pm PST
>> this is "bbc world news america" reporting from washington. two western journalists are among those killed in syria. american reporter marie colvin and a french photojournalist and died when their building is shelled in homs. >> this is a reminder of the risks that journalists take to report what is happening in syria. >> tensions flared in afghanistan, at least 10 people are killed in protests sparked by nato forces destroying copies of the koran. one graphic novel on the web is reaching audiences in a whole new way.
welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe. for yet another day, the syrian city of homs has come under sustained assault and this time, two journalists were among the victims. an american journalist, marie colvin, and the french photojournalist, remi ochlik were both killed when their building was hit by shell fire. >> today's shelling of homs, relentless, indiscriminate. it has been like this every day for almost three weeks. syria's regime is try to crush the revolution. this district is holding out but only just.
houses have been reduced to rubble. this was the base of the few foreign journalists here. many people died when the building was hit, among them, marie colvin, one of the most respected war correspondents of her generation. speaking to the bbc yesterday, she described an attack on the city full of cold and hungry civilians. >> it is absolutely sickening. just today, shelling started at 6:30 in the morning. i counted 14 shells hitting this area within 30 seconds. i watched a little baby died today, absolutely horrific. found thatped it and
the strap all had gone on to the chest and the doctors said that -- they found that shrapnel had gone into the chest and the doctors said they could not do anything. no one here can understand how the international community can let this happen. >> the french photographer remi ochlik was also killed and the syrian video journalist, rami al-sayed. their deaths were a reminder that scores were dying every day. the white house spoke of shameless brutality and syria. such words are welcome in homs but you must move quickly, begs this activist. the british photographer was injured.
there are efforts to get him out with a wounded french journalist. the ferocious bombardment is making that difficult. the international committee of the red cross has called for a humanitarian cease-fire for all the victims of this conflict. the international community has often seemed paralyzed over syria. the demand for cease-fire might attract support from even those nations which backed the regime. with bombs continuing to fall, the question is whether the syrian government is listening. >> a big question in deed. marie colvin was something of a legend among war correspondents. described as one of the most talented reporters of her generation. today, a tribute poured in from
colleagues who remembered her courage, her humor, and her style. >> marie colvin was a great foreign correspondent. she was devoted to reporting the news and shining a light in the darkest corners. she wanted her readers to know the truth, especially the truth that powerful people wanted to keep hidden. the middle east was a specialty. -- was hurt specialty. >> she believed she was there to report what other people could not do. -- the middle east was her specialty. "sh>> she lost sight in her eye covering the war and sri lanka. >> if you are going to cover a war, you always weigh the risks. i had shrapnel in my eye and i
lost sight in my left thigh. -- lkeft eye. she died doing what she loved. >> she was totally committed to what she did and the importance of telling the story and getting it out to the world. that was her life. she told me that she was on a story that was important and she wanted to finish it and she would leave today. that is really hard. >> she was a generous colleague. in tripoli, colonel gaddafi's people asked them to nominate two reporters to interview beside her. she chose me and an american reporter with abc news.
>> she was a warrior for the truth. she was on the front lines of getting the word out. the word about the people she was covering. that was the most important thing to her. >> she sent me an e-mail talking about the powerful piece that she had fired off for the previous day. she wrote "yesterday's piece was one of those we got into journalism for. they are killing with impunity here. it is sickening." >> the talented and respected reporter marie colvin has been killed in a bombing in syria. this is a desperately sad reminder that the risks journalists take to inform the world of what is happening and the dreadful events in syria and the thoughts are with her family and friends. >> she had a chuckle about the way she was smuggled into syria. she wrote "it was kind of fun
going across the fields on a dirt bike. hope to see you soon." >> for more on today's deaths and the violence which is escalating inside of syria, i spoke to the london bureau chief for the "new york times" who joins me from cambridge. one thing that marie and remi for the stories from homs to keep getting out of but it will make it harder because news agencies might i think it is worth the risk. >> it is. the shells striking reminded me of the early stages of the siege of sarajevo when there was 10,000 artillery shells hitting the city every day and there was masonry exploding everywhere.
when things get to that stage, for everyone, but for the journalists, this is a lottery. you are living on a dart board and the end can come very quickly. >> it she wanted those stories to get out. how much difference to you think it makes in the city of homs for the regime getting in the country? >> it is everything. it is everything. it is hope for survival. of course, for the regimes that do this kind of thing, they want to put out the eyes and ears of the world. they sometimes succeed. this kind of action, which may have been deliberate, as we now know, has exactly that as its intent. having marie colvin and people like her showing the courage to
go in, knowing that it could cost her her life. she said to our correspondent in a rout before she left that she was very concerned about this. -- she said to our correspondent in babeirut that she was concerned about this. that is a matter of how great she was. it does make a big difference. >> you mentioned sarajevo and several people have drawn the same comparison in the last few days. it took 30 months before the international community did take action. do you see any indication that we will get action faster in syria? >> i don't. i have been watching very carefully the balance of the argument on this. we know of the resistance from
russia and china. it looks like most of those people can hope for western governments deciding to start farming -- arming the free syrian government. many people die unnecessarily. i am not advocating that type of intervention. without some sort of force of some sort or another, whether it is the no-fly zone, or arming the rebels come what we have seen over the past weeks will be repeated. we will see things get more grotesque in syria. >> thank you very much. in the argentine capital of buenos aires, at least 40 people were killed when a commuter train came into one of the
disease stations. the train's brakes appear to have failed. >> the train smashed into the coffers during rush-hour at where the disease stations in buenos aires. there are reports of the second carriage crunching through the first. -- the train smashed into the buffers during rush-hour at one of the busiest stations in buenos aires. >> people started to break the windows and get out however they could. i saw the windows destroyed. there was a lot people hurt. a lot of kids, elderly. >> official investigations about the cause of the crash are under way. initial reports say that the brakes may have malfunctioned. the first priority of the authorities was dressed when people still possibly trapped alive inside of the train.
and emergency workers found people with horrific injuries. others had relatively minor cuts and bruises. as many as possible were it mobilize before being checked for whiplash injuries and broken bones. -- as many as possible were imm obilized. >> the afghan president has called for calm after days of protests following a report that the nato forces destroyed copies of the koran. i spoke with a retired general about the situation. look at how fast nato responded and how quickly they apologized. are you surprised that these have lasted into a second day? >> i am not surprised. inadvertent as it may be, it was an affront to the afghan people.
this is a complex demonstration in my opinion perhaps triggered by the burning of the koran but 11 years of frustration and war is wrapped up in this. the demonstrations might be used for other purposes not related. >> i have been listening to some of the people taking part in these demonstrations and how many of them are saying that it is about having infidels in the country. it is about having a foreign presence in the country. how much does that exacerbate the problems that nato already has in afghanistan? >> that is something that is complicated and you have to attend to it. you have to be attentive to their culture. in this type of situation, the emotions are just much more daraa than they would be in say a normal investigation.
-- are just more raw than they would be in a normal investigation. >> is anything more that the u.s. can do to improve the hearts and minds in afghanistan or with the prospect of the u.s. forces was drawing, is that a lost battle? >> that is an exception to the rule and the rule has been and continues to be a high respect for the religion, the people of afghanistan. the training that we afford our soldiers and a lot of the emphasis on cultural sensitivity. of course, you could always do better. >> we know that the taliban is feeling confident, that once foreign forces lead, they can resume a certain amount of control. doesn't this just play into extremist hands? >> yes, this is ammunition for the enemy's hands.
it also distracts attention from three strategic actions going on right now. first, the negotiations for when to leave afghanistan. this is very important because we still have to drive down the taliban. also, the discussion about the afghan security forces. there is a discussion about renewing the cap on the size of their force. >> ok, thank you very much for coming in to join me. >> you are watching "bbc world news america" still to come -- slowly making strides inside of somalia. we are inside the country to see the changes taking root. in china, tibetans are marking the start of their new year but the tibetan government in exile has called on tibetans in the country to boycott any celebrations in protest against
an ongoing chinese security crackdown. >> these are the pictures that china would like the world to see, tibetans at a temple in beijing marking the start of their new year. away from the capital, there is a mood of quiet defiance and a determination. monks at this monastery say they will not be celebrating the new year in protest against the continuing crackdown. old and a picture of the -- holding a picture of the dalai lama, this amount does not want to be identified because of reprisals. when we protest, they opened fire. there's nothing we can do. >> china has launched a massive
crackdown against protesters. more than 20 tibetans set themselves on fire in the last year. campaign groups say hundreds of people may have been detained. china says that it has tightened security as the unrest continues. >> under the current circumstances, the local government has tightened security measures in the tibetan areas to counter disruptive activities and to ensure social stability. >> china does not want the world to see what is happening in its tibetan community. this should be a time of celebration but instead it is a somber affair. many tibetans fear what the new year could bring. >> islamic extremists, ruthless pirates, and intense poverty. this is a toxic combinations and
somalia has them all. to tackle this threat, 40 governments and international bodies will meet in london tomorrow to ask what can be done. in somalia itself, the front line has shifted from the capital of mogadishu to the surrounding countryside. >> is this the moment that a road city is brought back to life? this was us in mogadishu in the bad old days. a battle of around every corner. today, it is transformed. this is the sound instead of gunfire, the sound of building and money. the islam next -- the islamist militants who held part of this city have been driven out. >> it is good. >> we can have a comfortable life. >> you are optimistic now?
>> yes. >> a politician takes a stroll, unthinkable a few months ago. almost everything needs fixing here. they are counting on the outside world. >> no running water, no electricity, no schools. what we expect from london is a real plan to reconstruct the city. "you want money? >> of course. >> money, millions, millions. >> the long wars are not over. the front lines have simply shifted outside of mogadishu. these african union and somali government troops are now launching new offensives against the militant group. >> it is getting easier because we're moving into the open ground. they cannot match us. we have more fire power. >> and so more families are on
the move. what you see coming down the road behind us are convoys, thousands of trucks and vehicles carrying civilians fleeing what they fear is an imminent offensive. the people have been running like this for 20 years. it is very hard, he says. no food. we are all afraid of the islamists. some of those fleeing i getting outside aid. the turkish are here in force and urging other nations to step up. >> there is nothing to be scared here. when you come with good feelings and when you want to do something for these people, they are ready to welcome you. i invite all of the members of the international committee to come. >> of the needs are still staggering.
thousands of families waiting for aid. this city might be calmer now, a safe haven, but the politics remains chaotic. two decades of anarchy cannot be wished away. >> the australian prime minister has just called a snap party leadership contest next week after falling out with her predecessor. she said the dispute within her party was a distraction for the country and she was confident of getting enough backing from colleagues to carry on. now to a graphic novel on the web that combines art with political activism. it is titled "zahra's paradise" after a cemetery outside of iran, it tells the story of the protests that occurred after the elections of 2009.
why did they turn to the internet to have maximum impact? >> i am the author of "zahra's paradise." this is the story of a mother who has discovered that her son has disappeared during the protests. she is trying to find out where he is. how do you find out where your son is once he has vanished? this is the brother, the brother is a blogger. he is telling the story of iran. they took stories that they were sending out on the internet and images that they were sending out. we took those images and put them together into a larger story. this is a student that they forced to dress up as a woman. he is still in prison.
one of the reasons that we're doing this is said that people like him can get out. it was an act of collective journalism. we have a chu is editor and an arab -- we had a jewish editor and an arab illustrator and an iranian author. >> we decided that the store needed to be done now. we decided to put it on line as a serial. and so, we put it up every monday, wednesday, friday. we started to just make this first names for the authors as a matter of safety. >> if you are a journalist, the chances are that you have had your camera confiscated. what you need is a pencil and imagination. when you combine the graphic novel and the internet, what you can do is get all of the
barriers bosket over the barriers of place, time come up language that would prevent you from getting the message out quickly. >> we can see who is reading it. we get a readout from google analytics. so many hundreds are reading it this day and 40 other cities. >> the notion that iran is crushed and finished, that the regime has silenced the people is wrong. >> an old art form delivered in a very new way. the story of iran as told in zahra's paradise. you can get updates on our website at any time. from all of us said "bbc world news america," thank you for watching.
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